Half.com / eBay gets my blood boiling

I received an email this afternoon from Half.com that made me irate!

Back in August when school started, I went to eBay’s Half.com to buy a text book for once of my classes.  I found one that looked like a decent deal ($75 for a $95 text book).  I put in on my credit card, and was told the book shipped and to expect it by September 12th.

The 12th came and went and I still had no book.  I went back to Half.com to contact the seller, sent him an email and got no response.  More time passed and I found out that he high-tailed it.  He was no longer an active member with Half.com/eBay.  I initiated the "Buyers Protection Claim" process to try to get my money back.  I filled out the form, attached all of my correspondence and did the whole nine yards.  Half.com gave me a confirmation that they received my Claim and basically said "This may take up to 30 days.  Don’t contact us because you might delay the process, we’ll get  back to you with the result.". (Nice way to keep customers off your back by the way!)

A month passes and I have yet to hear anything come from Half.com.   I was well aware that my credit card company had a 60-day window as to when I could dispute a charge.  Rapidly approaching the end of the window and no response from Half, I was left with little choice but to file the claim with my credit card company.

Now, a few days later I finally get a response from Half.com – not with an answer about my original claim – but rather a response that they got a "Chargeback" from my credit card company.  I love this part of the message (I bolded the part of the message I appreciated most):

We recommend in the future you attempt to resolve your problem with the Seller through Half.com’s email forwarding system before you submit a Buyer Protection Claim. While there may occasionally be problems, most problems are simple misunderstandings. In addition, you may not contact the seller (or submit a Buyer Protection Policy Claim to Half.com) if you have instructed your credit card company to charge back the disputed item. Buyers that go though their credit card company to dispute a charge may have their Half.com membership suspended. Buyers and sellers may use the Email Forwarding System for 60 days after the order date.

After reading that paragraph, I was fuming.  Immediately I hit "reply" and sent the following message:

You bet I initiated a chargeback through my financial institution.  I followed your process for attempting to contact the seller through email forwarding, then filed a Buyer Protection Claim on September 18th and got your "Don’t call us, we’ll call you" response.  35 days later and no response from Half.com, I was left with little choice but to dispute the charge with my credit card company. 

Now you have the gall to send me an email that says "Buyers that go though their credit card company to dispute a charge may have their Half.com membership suspended"?!?  If your Buyer Protection Process actually worked I wouldn’t be forced to resort through these measures.

Your lack of customer service is appalling, and you can be sure that as an eBay customer with over 100 buyer transactions, I will never use Half.com again.

I stand by my personal boycott of Half.com, and right now I’m even contemplating extending my boycott to eBay.  I’m not upset because the seller fled town mid-order and ripped me off. After having 122 successful transactions, I was bound to have a fraudulent seller. 

I am upset with how eBay handles these issues and how the buyer essentially has no rights.  An auction site is nothing without their buyers and it’s crap if they expect us to accept being tossed over the fence.  I follow their process and yet I still get chastised.  No thanks, don’t threaten me for spending money at your stupid store.

Moral of the story: 1 – The headache is not worth the $20 discount for a stupid textbook; 2 – Always use a credit card and not a debit card for on-line purchases; 3 – Avoid Half.com